Imagine a little girl wearing her father’s boxer shorts to church camp and asking if she can take her lunch home to share with the rest of her family. This little girl’s generosity to provide for her family, called Dan Campbell, Director of Development at Metropolitan Ministries in Pasco, to do more. His heart was broken for the little girl. Speaking to the child and her parents, Dan promised, “This is not a one-time thing. We will not forget you. In the years to come, we will be here for you.” Families can now receive food, utility assistance, clothing, adult education, and after school care in Pasco. A brand new kitchen serves 2,000 daily hot meals.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 children in Pasco is hungry. Of the 2,400 homeless children in Pasco County schools, only 25% of these homeless children ever graduate. Dan set up a free after school tutoring program and brought the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program into the lives of these children. He also set up a GED program to re-capture these kids when they drop out. Recently he learned many of these children are homeless and “couch-surfing” in an attempt to stay in school, so he built a kitchen to bring hot meals to them. His vision for housing in Pasco will also soon be a reality.
More than 30,000 families have been helped since Dan brought in partners to help provide food, utility assistance, clothing, adult education, and after school care in Pasco. He recently secured community support to open a new $800K commercial kitchen to address food insecurity and serve up to 2,000 meals daily and $1.6M in state and county funds to build emergency shelter housing. Dan’s leadership has engaged over 10,000 volunteers to help get the job done, and his vision to provide solutions for families and children will provide shelter and care for 100 families annually for generations.
Thank you to the Tampa Bay Lighting Foundation for honoring Dan and helping to make the Metropolitan Ministries Pasco Housing initiative possible.